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Having my first lobster fest at my house....

What else should I serve with them? I'm not a New Englander and don't know what one traditionally eats or drinks with lobster. So if you have suggestions, please let me know!

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    1. re: wattacetti

      Ditto. Keep it simple. And "clarified butter" isn't necessary - just do plain melted butter. Clarifyng butter is a pain in the a** and totally unnecesary for a large-group lobster fest. As for sides, our lobster bakes have just included steamed softshell or hardshell clams, corn on the cob (although this is pretty much out of corn season now) & steamed potatoes. Other sides? Great big green salads, & sometimes a macaroni salad. Oh, & great crusty bread.

      1. re: wattacetti

        and ale.

        OTOH, I do this outdoors in the summer in a big turkey fry pot over a propane burner and I layer some sausage or chorizo, corn, steamers and steam it all together. For just me, all I want is butter, lemon and a lobster no smaller than 2-4 lbs. I'd rather cut a big one in half to share than eat a small one.

        Only other thing I' d add if you think your group will want it is some cole slaw.

        I just spread newspaper across the tables, lay out a lot of crackers, picks and bowls of broth, butter and some lemon wedges and let folks have at it with rolls of paper towels standing up at the ready.

      2. For the past 20 years, we have a lobster fest at least once a year with our group of friends. It actually included all manner of seafood but lobsters are the main course.

        In the summer, we do corn on the cob, a green salad and great rolls or bread. We like to keep it simple so nothing competes with the main course.

        I recently watched an Ina Garten episode where she served a mustard mayo with lobster. It was dijon, mayo and a bit of whole grain mustard. I love lobster and it appealled to me.

        When I host at our house, I pick up new white bar rags and use those as napkins.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cleobeach

          I love mustard/mayo as a dipping sauce for lobster or crabmeat. With a little tarragon if you want to fancy it up. I'd go with some roasted potatoes and a salad on the side, champagne to drink and something lemon for dessert. No idea if it's traditional but it sounds fabulous to me!

        2. Clarified butter! A lot of it!! I am a native Southerner so when we have a lobster fest it has a few Southern touches to mix with the typical New England affair. We often serve lobster with traditional Old Bay and beer boiled shrimp, hush puppies, corn, potatoes (always red).

          5 Replies
          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Actually plain melted butter is much more tasty than clarified butter for dipping seafood.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              old bay is a never on TRADITIONAL lobster that is a maryland and honestly Joes Crab Shack thing. It will overpower the simple sweet taste of out crustecean frend.

              1. re: iguanachef

                fldhkybnva didn't say the lobster was in Old Bay, but that the lobster were served with the shrimp, the shrimp were boiled in traditional Old Bay and beer.

                1. re: JMF

                  Yes, thanks for clarifying on my behafl.

                  1. re: JMF

                    whew, I was scared glad it was my eyes not your lobster cooking

              2. Boiled or steamed potatoes with some compound butter of your choice of flavor profile. If good ears of corn are not available, steam some green beans or other green vegetable, or make a raw vegetable slaw of some sort. Plain or compound butter for dipping the bugs.

                1. beer or champagne to drink.

                  can you get oysters for a first course? they're really good right now.

                  roasted potatoes and a simple steamed green veg, like green beans.

                  make sure to have lots of napkins, extra bowls out for all the shells and detritus.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Do you (and biondanonima) really mean roasted potatoes? Peeled and roasted at high heat in beef fat or oil, as for an English Sunday dinner, or do you mean baked potatoes?

                    1. re: anniette

                      I mean roasted, but not peeled - I would use either fingerlings (which have such thin skins that they might as well be skinless) that are small enough to roast whole, or yukon golds/small reds cut into 1" chunks. Tossed with plenty of oil and roasted at high heat. Different from baked potatoes, which to me are whole, large potatoes, cooked in their (thick) skins without oil.

                  2. New Englanders would tell you potatoes, clams or oysters, clarified butter and maybe salad.

                    I love champagne with lobster but a cold beer is great too.

                    1. The first time I ever ate lobster some close friends offered to cook it for me, "the way they get it in France." They boiled the bugs, cut them in half, cooled thoroughly, and served with a mildly garlicky, lemony home-made mayonnaise. A simple watercress salad on the side. It was divine!

                      1. All and some of the above mentioned. But since you are not a "New Englander". just checking to see if you know what size/kind lobsters to buy/cook for the Fest? That's the most important part so just thought I'd ask...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: miss_belle

                          Ordered 1.5 pounders from a friend who works for a seafood company. 9 live lobsters coming on Saturday!

                        2. All of the above suggestions are classic, but it's also winter! I would love to see you serve it on the side of a nice cioppino or seafood pasta, so people can alternate between the summery lobster and a good soothing, warming sauce.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: katecm

                            What time do you want me and my extended family to show up? We'll bring a nice cake from Costco.

                            1. re: katecm

                              +1, I'm salivating while reading this thread. Have a wonderful time.

                            2. I'm a New Englander. When we have lobster we serve it with melted butter. Sides are Cape Cod potato chips and either homemade coleslaw in winter or corn on the cob and sliced summer tomatoes. Make sure you have separate plates for the sides because the lobsters are juicy.
                              Leftover lobster, if there is any, becomes lobster salad for the next day.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mariab

                                you have lobster left??? you either buy enough to have leftovers or you guys are too shy when having it! Simple sides are spot on!! 2 New England thumbs up

                              2. That's a lot of lobsters to cook in one pan on a home burner - I usually do 2 pots if I am cooking more than 4, but unfortunately I live with a flat top stove that doesn't understand 'rolling boil'.
                                If you do use one big pot, try to rearrange the bugs with a silicone glove or tongs 1/2 way thru.
                                And if you aren't using sea water to cook them in be sure to salt the water. I love lobster with blueberry muffins and coleslaw:)

                                1 Reply
                                1. One of my favorite sides with lobster (and I don't think it's been mentioned yet) are blueberry muffins! In the summertime you can get those bright blue, large berries and something about the taste of those muffins with lobster just says SUMMER to me.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dordalina

                                    if you can ever lay your hands on the wild ones that look like blueberry bb's you will be amazed by the flavor punch they give. and try a little spice with them..cinnamon, nutmeg...Maine spices all their blueberry treats at least their natives do

                                  2. Growing up on Cape Cod, our lobster bakes would include clams, red potatoes, corn on the cob, and a lovely portuguese sausage called Linguica

                                    As an alternative to melted butter, some of my friends like to use Mayo. I think if you add a little vinegar and garlic powder to the jarred Mayo is gives it just the right kick for an different tyaste of the lobster

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                      Another mayo fan here - but only served with cooked chilled lobster. I mix a little Tarragon Vinegar, fresh chopped Tarragon, minced garlic, & freshly-groung black pepper into it. Delicious!

                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                        +1. I'm surprised the Linguica took so long to be mentioned. I have hosted many bakes out at Katama on the Vinyard. Your comments are what I would consider the classic New England Lobster Bake.

                                        1. re: qbdave

                                          I grew up in Falmouth. I think the inclusion of Linguica is pretty much limited to the Fall River to Mid-cape range and MV

                                      2. Here's my favorite lobster fest;

                                        -Melted butter (I'm a purist for the flavor of the lobster).
                                        -French Garden Potato Salad made with warm red potatoes, a lemon vinaigrette, green beans and fresh herbs *see photo below (aka America's Test Kitchen's Dilly Potato Salad).
                                        -And a citrus salad of baby greens and grapefruit with a light honey-mustard dressing.

                                        Sheesh, my mouth is watering!

                                        1. As others said, melted butter and lemons on the side. I prefer the lobster plain personally. Corn on cob, frozen can be good if you boil water, throw corn in, and turn off heat and let sit five minutes. Boiled small potatoes. Steamed soft shell clams. Not traditional but mussels sauteed in white wine, butter, garlic. I really like a Marlborough Valley New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with lobster, served well chilled. This wine just pairs so well with sweet lobster, and cuts through the butter to cleanse your palate.

                                          1. No one's mentioned it yet, but this native NYer learned on one of our trips to Maine that Apple Cider Vinegar vs. melted butter is a great alternative. I tend to serve both. Never tried the mayo; will give that a whirl next time. Great tip.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: aanyclk

                                              Yes to apple cider vinegar!
                                              If you've never tried dipping steamed lobster in a good quality apple cider vinegar, do yourself a big favor -- you'll be surprised at how good it is.
                                              I do as "annyclk" does, and serve steamed lobster with both options -- melted butter or cider vinegar. And we'll go back and forth, dipping in one, or the other, depending on the sensory desire of the moment.
                                              I first learned of this from a woman who lives year-round on Matinicus Island, off the coast of Maine. Apparently, many generations ago (and sometimes even now) butter wasn't always on-hand, especially when you live 20 miles out to sea. Some islander had cider vinegar but no butter, tried it, liked it, and it became a regular option, and for some, a preferred accompaniment.

                                              1. re: Tango22

                                                Can you recommend a good quality apple cider vinegar? Heinz is what I've always used--never noticed other options other than store brands, but I haven't really looked either.

                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                  Even the supermarket "house" brands of apple cider should be pleasing (I've tried Shaw's Supermarkets house brand, and it worked well), but you might also want to look in some gourmet markets. Or find an orchard farmstand that produces their own cider vinegar -- I've been very pleased with Hope Orchards (located in Hope, Maine) cider vinegar.

                                                  1. re: Tango22

                                                    yep, agreed. i get Bragg's usually, but definitely used Heinz as well.

                                                  2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                    I like Braggs Raw Unfiltered ACV (in health food stores and some supermarkets). It has more apple flavor IMO, and is a little softer.

                                                    1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                      Thanks Tango22 and ski_gypsy: I'll take a closer look next time. I've seen Bragg's products at Whole Foods; I'll check on ACV next time. I'd love to try it next time we decide to splurge on lobster. (In Atlanta earlier this week, the "mediums" were $6.99/lb and "large"--anything over 2.5 lb-- $9.99/lb. Wish I could have jumped on those.)

                                                2. re: aanyclk

                                                  A friend does a similar thing, but he prefers malt vinegar.

                                                  1. re: gimlis1mum

                                                    Makes sense -- a bit of malt vinegar is a preferred condiment for Fish & Chips, so why not lobster. Time to cook up some lobsters and do another comparison.

                                                3. A very different approach:

                                                  Cut live lobsters is half, remove intestines, cut off claws and knuckles and crack with a knife back on both sides. Leave the light green tomalley and orange roe.

                                                  Stuff the space with seasoned bread crumbs (I like crushed corn flakes) and cover the remaining exposed side with the crumbs, then pour some olive oil on the crumbs.

                                                  Place shell side up in a good ceramic pan and surround with the claws and knuckles. Pour a good quantity of white wine in the pan,

                                                  Cover with foil - 1/2 hour at 400 in oven, then uncovered another 10 - 15 minutes, ladle wine and drippings on the browned bread crumbs.

                                                  You only need some green vegetable with this, artichoke hears work well. You can certainly cook 9 lobsters this way in most ovens (in several pans)

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                                    Having killed and opened dozens of lobsters i have to say it sounds like you never made this recipe yourself. Lobster eggs that are ready for maturation attached to the stomach of a uncooked/live lobster are dark to medium gray/brown, or even darker. Of course you will never see this because it is illegal to keep lobsters with eggs and they have to be released immediately.

                                                    Eggs that are immature and inside an uncooked lobster are anywhere from clear to a light gray, to a very light brown, to a dark almost black color. Only cooked eggs/roe is red.

                                                    Tomalley is only green in a cooked lobster. In a live/raw lobster it is anywhere from pale brown to medium brown to greasy black.

                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      I have and get them with the row all the time. Are you thinking of eggs hanging to t he swimmerettes? Yes those must be thrown back. Those with eggs inside, are, well, inside. Don't confuse the unfertilized eggs with spawning. You are right that I mentioned the cooked color of the eggs.

                                                      BTW, I made this last night and drank a Deutz blanc to blanc with it.